From the Desk of the President (MAY, 2006)

St Paul Trades and Labor Assembly

Local 34 has moved, per motion approved by the April 5, 2006 General Assembly, 201 of our per caps from the Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council to the St Paul Trades and Labor Assembly, effective April 2006.  What that means is that we have five delegate slots open to our local at the St Paul Trades and Labor Assembly.  We will elect those delegates at the May 19, 2006 Executive Board meeting.  If you live in the St Paul and surrounding suburbs area and have an interest in serving our local in the capacity as one of those delegates, please contact me by no later than Monday, May 17, 2006 to indicate your interest.  Serving as one of our delegates entails attending the monthly meeting, held the 2nd Wednesday of the month, at the Trades and Labor Building, 411 Main St, St Paul MN.  There is a public employee caucus held from 5:30 - 6:30 PM and then the Assembly immediately follows.  That meeting is usually about an hour long.  About 1/4 of our membership live in St Paul and surrounding suburbs and are directly impacted by many of the decisions made for endorsements of political candidates so this move has been long overdue. 

Special Convention of the Minnesota AFL-CIO

We just received notice that there will be a special convention of the MN AFL-CIO on Friday, May 19, 2006, at the Holiday Inn North at 5:30 PM.  The sole topic of the convention will be to discuss and vote on an amendment to Article X, Section 1 of the Minnesota AFL-CIO Constitution to change the per capita tax (dues) from $0.65 per member per month to $0.90 per member per month, effective July 1, 2006.  We will address this matter at the May 3, 2006 General Assembly and elect delegates to attend that convention.  Delegates would be paid for their lost time, if needed, and mileage to attend.  If you are interested in putting your name forward as a delegate and cannot attend the GA, please contact me by no later than 1:30 PM that afternoon of May 3, 2006.  

Alliance Housing Annual Breakfast

Local 34 is a sponsor of Alliance Housing Inc. by contributing $100.00 per month to their efforts to provide services and housing to the community's homeless single adults and families.  They have invited our Local to attend their annual breakfast on Friday, June 2, 2006, 7:30 - 8:30 AM at Park House.  I will attend the event but would like to ask that a few more members of our Local attend, too.  If you would like to join me at this event, please let me know by 1:30 PM on Wednesday, May 3, 2006.    

Seniority List

The list can be found on our web site,  The easiest place to find it is on the left-hand side of the front page by the scroll bar on that side - near the "HOME" button.  The report reflects information as of the April 7, 2006 pay date so should include anyone who was in a Local 34 job class as of April 1, 2006.  When you are looking at the seniority date, you may have to expand that field or it will only show # signs.  This list has been distributed to the officers, stewards, distribution contacts and activists throughout the local.  We have already sent a request for clarification of the duplication of information of the Child Support Officers; why the Social Workers and Senior Social Workers are not together on the same list as we have had in the past as, per our contract, they are considered as one group for seniority;  where the Human Service Representative I job class is listed; and why the Human Service Representative II job class has two lists by dates.  We will forward other questions and report on the answers as they are received.  One item that has been noticed by a number of folks is that we have folks listed who are no longer current employees.  To date, I have found that all of the folks whose names have been brought to my attention are on medical layoff.  What that means is that they were on medical leave prior to leaving employment.  They remain on the seniority list for a length of time equal to their employment with the County but not to exceed three years and are subject to the layoff language under the terms of our contract. 

I have been asked this question every day this week:  How is our seniority determined?  Per Article 6, Section 1: "Seniority is an employee's length of service for the Employer from the most recent date of employment, re-employment or reinstatement."   Another commonly asked question has been:  Why does the report show a different date from when I first started with the County?  Some of the possible answers are: You began as a grant, intermittent or temporary employee and then were hired into a permanent position.  Your seniority date begins from the date you started in the permanent position.  Another is that you worked for the County, left for a while and then came back.  Your seniority date is the date of your most recent hire.  An example is you were first hired 2/1/98, worked for three years, left 3/15/01, and then were rehired 5/13/05.  Your seniority date will be 5/13/05. The next questions I have been asked is:  If we face a layoff for my job class, how would that happen?  Per Article 6, Section 4A -" Layoff shall be in inverse order of seniority within each work classification and department*....".  Most of us work in the Human Services and Public Health Department but we do have some members of our bargaining unit who work for Corrections, the County Attorney's Office, the Library, and a few other departments throughout the County.     

If you have a question about your seniority date, please send an e-mail to either Clifford Robinson, Shannon Wesley, Matt Nelson or me with the date as listed on the report and why you think that date is incorrect.  Provide as much information as you have to document your concern.  We will compile all of the questions, do the fact checking with Human Resources/Labor Relations, and get back to you.  Any corrections will be added to an updated list at some point in the future.    

Celebrate May Day - the day when workers around the world celebrate.